If you’re looking into breeding Maine Coons, it’s common to wonder, what age can I breed my Maine Coon?
For those of you that have always dreamt of breeding your Maine Coon kitten, you’re probably already staring at your cat right now, desperately excited to begin the breeding process.
Whilst there is no issue with feeling excited, it is important that you keep in mind how incredibly dangerous and irresponsible it is to breed your cat when it is too young.
Female Maine Coons should be at least 18 months old before breeding, but ideally, you should wait until they are fully grown, or else their growth can be stunted. Male Maine Coons should be at least 18 to 24 months old before breeding. Make sure to have your cats checked over by a vet first, to determine they are both healthy enough to breed.
There’s a lot more that goes into breeding than you might think! A lot of people are interested in breeding Maine Coons, thinking they will get rich quickly. This simply isn’t the case. However, if you’re still interested in breeding your cat, read on to learn all the ins and outs of Maine Coon breeding!
At What Age Can I Breed My Maine Coon?
There are many Maine Coon breeders out there, but before you decide to become a breeder yourself, you should know it’s not as easy to make money fast. Breeders incur a lot of costs, and it’s a time-consuming and mentally straining process.
With all that being said, there are still plenty of reasons why you might want to breed cats. Cat fanciers love to bring new life into the world, and it can be rewarding to pair a queen and a stud to make beautiful Maine Coon kittens.
So, if you want to get into breeding, what’s the best age to actually start breeding your cats?
The Maine Coon mating age is usually around five or six months old. This is when a cat reaches sexual maturity and is ready to start finding a mate. However, please note that it actually isn’t a good idea to start breeding cats when they’re this young!
The minimum age for cat breeding is around 18 to 24 months, but this still isn’t recommended for breeding Maine Coons.
Maine Coon Cats have a much slower growth rate than most cats, so it can take three to five years for them to reach their full size.
A female Maine Coon that becomes pregnant before she is fully grown can experience stunted growth and might even be more at risk for a dangerous pregnancy and birth.
Meanwhile, the maximum cat breeding age is about seven years old. Older cats are also at risk for having dangerous pregnancies and births, and it puts both the queen and her kittens at risk (source 1,2).
How Many Kittens Can A Maine Coon Cat Have?
The average Maine Coon litter size is about four or five kittens, and they rarely have litters of more than six. However, in rare cases, they can give birth to up to twelve kittens at once!
So, how many kittens can a Maine Coon have in a year? It’s often considered best to breed a queen twice a year, so she can produce, on average, eight to twelve kittens each year.
Here are the key reasons that impact how many kittens your Maine Coon cat will have:
|Age||Young and old queens have |
|Genetics||Genetics impact litter size|
|Breeding Frequency||Regular breeding increases|
|Health||Healthy queens produce |
Let’s take a look at these factors in a little more detail (source 1):
Age is a key factor in determining litter size.
Young queens are likely to have a smaller litter, between one and three kittens. Aging queens are also more likely to produce smaller litters.
Surprisingly, a Maine Coon first litter is actually usually quite small, just between one and three kittens.
When a queen is in prime breeding age, she is most likely to produce large litters.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to know for sure whether your breeding queen has the optimal genetics for producing larger litters.
However, it’s believed that genetics does play a big part, and some cats are simply more or less likely to produce large litters.
3. Breeding Frequency
Queens that are bred more frequently, such as once or twice a year, are more likely to have larger litters.
Infrequent breeding can affect how hospitable the cat’s uterus is to new litters, and can decrease the number of kittens she has.
The health of a queen is important for determining litter size.
Healthier queens that are on a good diet are more likely to produce larger litters, while malnourished or unhealthy queens are likely to have smaller litters.
These are the ‘Top 7 Maine Coon Health Problems‘ to watch out for if you plan on breeding your Maine Coon cat.
Things To Know Before Breeding Cats
As attractive as breeding may seem, it takes a lot of time and money to partake in this hobby or business scheme. Before you decide whether or not to breed cats, here are some things you’ll want to know.
- It’s Expensive: Breeders incur a lot of costs before they can make a profit. If you only keep queens, you’ll have to pay a stud fee, not to mention the initial cost of any cats you own! You’ll also have to pay all of the medical expenses, including vaccinations, deworming, and vet checkups. You’ll also have to pay for food and any other supplies.
- It’s Time Consuming: Breeding cats is a full time job. Unlike many jobs, you can’t simply clock out when a queen is pregnant or nursing. Young kittens need to be checked on every few hours, which means you aren’t even guaranteed a good night’s sleep! Older kittens are rowdy and require litter training, which can be exhausting and frustrating at times.
- It Can Be Heartbreaking: Sadly, breeding cats comes with a huge risk. Dangerous pregnancies can take the life of the queen before or during labour. Furthermore, there’s no guarantee that all of the kittens will survive. This can take a huge emotional toll on you.
How To Start Breeding Maine Coons
If you are still interested in breeding Maine Coon cats, then read onto discover the steps you will need to complete (source 1):
1. Obtain Your Breeding Cats
You’ll want to obtain both a queen and a stud with official registration papers that prove their pedigree.
Some breeders choose not to own their own studs, however and instead pay a stud fee and “rent” a stud for breeding, but this is completely up to you.
2. Obtain A License
The legality of breeding and selling kittens can vary based on location, so you’ll need to research whether or not you’ll need to obtain a license.
If you’re breeding three or fewer queens, then chances are you won’t need a license, but it’s always best to check, just in case!
3. Get Certified By A Registered Cat Body
While not absolutely necessary, you’ll want to be registered by a governing cat body such as TICA or the CFA.
Certified breeders are viewed as far more reputable by potential customers, and you’ll be able to assure them that you are providing healthy, high-quality cats.
4. Health Checkups
Both parents will need a thorough checkup from a vet before you begin breeding them.
Your vet will be able to determine if your queen is in a fit state to care for kittens, and can provide lots of helpful advice.
5. Genetic Testing
While Maine Coons are typically considered a healthy, sturdy breed, they are prone to a few different health problems. These are the ‘Top 7 Maine Coon Health Problems‘.
It’s important to get both parents tested for genetic conditions such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, so they don’t pass them on to their kittens.
6. Proper Supplies
You’ll need high-quality food for your pregnant queen, as well as a safe space for her and her kittens.
Furthermore, you’ll need kitten food to wean the babies, as well as lots of toys for when they’re ready to start playing.
7. Create A Website
You’ll need a way to advertise and sell your kittens, and most breeders create their own website to do this.
While you can use other forms of social media to advertise, many agree that it’s best to provide customers with a website that provides all the information they could want.
8. Do Your Research
There’s no such thing as too much research when it comes to breeding cats!
All sorts of things can go wrong during a pregnancy, and you’ll want to be there for your queen every step of the way to ensure she is happy and healthy.
Simple mistakes like not providing food with enough protein can end up killing the queen’s litter, or even the queen herself! (source 1).
Cost Of Breeding Cats
Breeding cats for profit is quite difficult at first, because you’ll have to pay a lot of costs, and it will be several months before you make any money at all.
The table below summarizes the key costs you will incur if you decide to become a Maine Coon breeder:
|Breeding Cost||Price ($)|
|Genetic Screening||$50 per test, per cat|
|Stud Fee||$100 – $1,000|
|Purchasing Breeding Cat||$4,000 each|
|Spaying / Neutering||$100 – 200 per kitten|
These additional costs vary:
|Other Breeding Costs|
|Kitten Registration Fees|
|Good Living Conditions|
|Toys And Enrichment|
Keep reading to discover more about all the costs you’ll incur as a breeder:
- Genetic Screening: Maine Coons are susceptible to a variety of genetic health conditions, such as polycystic kidney disease, spinal muscular atrophy, and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. You’ll need to pay about $50 per test per cat to make sure your breeding cats can’t pass any of these conditions onto their young.
- Stud Fee: If you don’t want to keep your own stud cat or cats, you’ll have to “rent” a high quality stud cat to breed with your female. This can range anywhere from $100 to over $1,000! However, some stud owners prefer an exchange instead, and will allow you to breed their stud in exchange for one kitten of their choice.
- Purchasing A Breeding Cat: Of course, you’ll have to purchase a high quality cat with strong Maine Coon lineage if you want to breed any kittens of your own. A good queen will probably cost around $4,000 to start, and if you purchase her from another breeder, you’ll likely have to pay a breeding fee, as well.
- High Quality Food: Maine Coons need a lot of high quality food that is high in protein and low in carbohydrates to stay healthy. This is especially true for a pregnant or nursing queen, who needs all the strength she can get to keep herself and her kittens healthy.
- Vaccinations: You’ll need to vaccinate both your breeding parents, as well as all of their kittens. Kittens need several rounds of shots while they’re young, which can really add up when you’re vaccinating an entire litter!
- Vet Checkups: It’s vital that you always put the health of your cat and her kittens first. Your pregnant queen will need several checkups throughout her pregnancy to make sure all is well, and the kittens will need several checkups of their own, too. Kittens also have very poor immune systems to start out, and they’re prone to developing all sorts of infections and illnesses, which you’ll be responsible for treating.
- Kitten Registration Fees: If you’re registered with a governing cat body, you’ll have to pay a registration fee for each kitten in order for them to be considered pedigree.
- Microchips: Most good breeders get all of their kittens microchipped before sending them to good homes. Microchips are important for ensuring a cat can be returned home safely if it gets lost or stolen. Microchip implants typically cost about $50 each.
- Spaying Or Neutering: An increasingly common practice among breeders is to get all kittens spayed or neutered before selling them to their forever homes. Unfortunately, these surgeries don’t come cheap, and can cost anywhere from $100 to $200 per kitten.
- Quality Living Conditions: You’ll need to make sure that your queen and her kitten have clean and humane conditions. You might even have to build a separate space to house your cats, especially when it comes to stud cats, who are often prone to spraying.
- Paperwork And Documentation: All good breeders provide their customers with the correct paperwork and documentation, along with family trees.
- Deworming: All kittens require several rounds of deworming while they are young.
- Toys And Enrichment: Maine Coons are some of the most playful and rambunctious kittens out there, and they need durable, safe toys to keep happy and enriched.
Do I Need A License To Breed Cats?
It’s also important to consider legality before pursuing your dream of becoming a cat breeder. For example, do you need a license to sell kittens or breed cats?
In the US, commercial breeders (who have four or more queens for breeding purposes) must obtain a license.
If you have three or fewer breeding queens, then you will not need to obtain a license. Keep in mind that laws can also vary from state to state, so you should research your state laws thoroughly before making any decisions.
The law is similar in the UK, where you don’t need a license to sell a few kittens each year as a hobbyist. If you plan on breeding more cats regularly and often, however, you’ll need to obtain the proper license.
To obtain a license in both the UK and the US, you’ll have to provide proof that you can provide adequate housing, food, water, and other care for all the animals you plan on breeding and selling, and you’ll also need to renew the license once every year or so (sources 1,2,3).
How To Become A Maine Coon Breeder
In order to become a Maine Coon breeder, you’ll need to be properly licensed if it’s required in your geographical location.
You’ll also need a breeding cat or cats, as well as all of the proper supplies to take care of your cats and kittens.
Finally, all reputable breeders are certified by governing cat bodies, such as TICA or the CFA. If you are not registered with these cat bodies, then your kittens will not be considered pedigrees.
Why not have a chat with your local Maine Coon breeders, to get a real understanding of what it takes to be a Maine Coon breeder. To help you locate your nearest registered breeder, take a look at my article ‘Maine Coon Cat Breeders In United States, By State‘.
When Do Maine Coon Females Go Into Heat?
It’s important to learn about your cat’s heat cycle before getting into breeding. So, how often do Maine Coons go into heat? Once an unspayed cat reaches sexual maturity (at about five or six months of age), she will go into heat about every one to three weeks until she becomes pregnant.
Outdoor cats do not go into heat during the winter, but indoor cats can go into heat throughout the year.
A cat will go into heat for about a week, but if she’s not fertilized within that time period, she’ll go into heat again about one to three weeks later.
Surprisingly, a cat that has just given birth can go back into heat in just a few weeks (although this doesn’t mean it’s safe to breed her again).
If your cat miscarries, she will need roughly two months of rest to recovered, before she goes into heat again (source 1).
How To Tell If My Maine Coon Is In Heat
Maine Coons aren’t subtle about when they’re in heat, but owners might not recognize the signs at first.
Here are the most common signs that indicate your cat is in heat:
|Signs Cats In Heat||Description|
|Begging To Go Outside||Many cats in heat scratch at the door and yowl to go |
outside so that they can meet up with potential mates
|Spreading Scent||Your cat might rub her face against furniture, other objects, |
or even you! Unfortunately, in some cases, your cat might
start spraying urine, as well
|Begging For Attention||Cats in heat often become more attention-seeking and try to |
cuddle up against you a lot. This is most apparent in cats
that aren’t typically cuddly, but you might notice that your
usually cuddly cat wants even more attention than usual.
|Excessive Vocalization||A cat in heat is more likely to vocalize and might cry, yowl, |
or meow loudly.
|Assuming Mating Position||A cat in heat might get into the mating position by laying |
with her belly close to the ground and lift her backside
while holding her tail in the air.
How Long Are Maine Coons In Heat?
Maine Coons typically stay in heat for about one week.
After that, they have one to three weeks of rest before they go into heat again.
How To Tell If My Maine Coon Is Pregnant
If you plan to breed your Maine Coon, it’s essential that you know how to look out for pregnant cat behavior.
Here are the most common signs that indicate your cat is pregnant (source 1):
1. Increase In Affection
A pregnant cat will often become more clingy and affectionate, following you around and begging for cuddles.
2. Increased Appetite
Your pregnant cat has to feed more than just herself now!
Her appetite will increase by about 50% so she can keep herself and her unborn kittens healthy.
Make sure you are feeding your pregnant Maine Coon cat the best cat food.
3. Nesting Behavior
Later on in the pregnancy, your cat will start to look for a safe spot to have her kittens.
She might become more territorial, as well, fighting over space or even comfy things like blankets and pillows.
4. Vomiting And Nausea
Just like how humans get morning sickness, a pregnant cat might vomit occasionally due to nausea.
5. Weight Gain
Later on in your cat’s pregnancy, you can expect her to gain between two and four pounds.
6. Increased Sleep
Pregnant cats often become lethargic and need a lot more rest to stay healthy.
You’ll notice your pregnant cat will sleep a lot more than she used to!
7. Change In Nipples
Pregnant cat nipples vs normal nipples look completely different.
The nipples swell and become much larger, and they often darken and become pink in color.
8. Swollen Abdomen
After about a month of pregnancy, you’ll notice your cat’s abdomen swells as her kittens begin to grow.
Pregnant cats look very different from overweight cats, as the rest of their body looks relatively normal, but their abdomen is distinctly swollen and round.
Maine Coon Gestation Period
A large part of breeding cats is being patient during pregnancy, but how long is a Maine Coon pregnant for?
A Maine Coon’s gestation period lasts between 63 and 65 days or about two months.
How To Care For A Pregnant Cat
Pregnant cats need a lot of extra care to ensure that their birth goes smoothly.
Here’s what you can do to take care of your pregnant cat:
- Provide Extra Food: A pregnant cat’s appetite will increase by about 50% while she’s pregnant, so make sure you’re providing enough food. Also make sure to give her high quality food that is high in protein and low in carbohydrates.
- Give Her A Safe Space: Provide a safe, sheltered space for your pregnant cat so she feels secure in her environment. She might become more territorial, so be sure to give her space and leave her alone when she needs it.
- Keep In Contact With Your Vet: Take your cat to the vet for checkups while she’s pregnant to ensure everything is going smoothly. Your vet will give you helpful tips about your individual cat, and can help you prepare for the birth.
What To Expect When Your Cat Is In Labour
Once your queen is ready to go into labor, she will find a safe, sheltered spot to have her kittens.
Signs she’s about to go into labor include:
- Eating Less
- Excessive Grooming
When you notice these signs, make sure to close all closet doors and block off any hidden areas you don’t want her to have the kittens in, and encourage her to seek out a spot you’ve already chosen yourself.
However, if she does go into labor in an undesirable spot, don’t move her!
Moving a cat who is giving birth will put her under stress, and could potentially threaten her life, as well as the lives of her kittens.
The first kitten will take about an hour to be fully birthed, and each succeeding kitten will take between half an hour to an hour. Keep a close eye on the process, and have an emergency vet available to call should anything go wrong.
Are Maine Coon Kittens Bigger Than Normal Kittens?
The Maine Coon is the largest domesticated cat breed in the world, and the kittens are no different!
Maine Coon kittens are naturally larger than normal kittens, although they grow at a slower rate (source 1).
You might be interested to look at my article ‘Maine Coon Vs Normal Cat Size‘.
How To Find Homes For Maine Coon Kittens
Once your kittens have reached eight weeks of age, they are ready to go to their forever homes.
You should advertise your kittens on a website or social media site. To ensure the kittens find good homes, you should be quite choosy about who they go to.
Don’t be afraid to interview potential customers, asking questions like whether or not they are prepared to care for the kittens despite behavioral problems, or whether they’ve had experience with caring for kittens before.
A lot of potential breeders wonder, what age can I breed my Maine Coon?
While you can breed a Maine Coon between 18 and 24 months old, it’s best to wait until they’re fully grown.
Breeding cats can be a wonderful hobby or even a way to make some money, but keep in mind that it’s an expensive and time-consuming process that takes a lot of time, patience, and research.
At What Age Should A Maine Coon Be Spayed?
You should spay or neuter your Maine Coon when it is between four and six months old. Talk with your vet about whether your cat is ready to be spayed.
Can Maine Coons Breed With Regular Cats?
Maine Coons can be bred with normal cats or cats of other breeds. However, the kittens will not be considered purebred.
Maine Coon Maturity Age
Maine Coons take a lot longer to grow to their full size than most cats. In fact, most Maine Coons don’t reach their full size until they’re about three to five years old.
Maine Coons are typically known for being a healthy, sturdy cat breed. But, Maine Coon hip dysplasia is, unfortunately, a relatively common Maine Coon health problem. With this in mind,...
Before bringing this large, wild-looking cat into their homes, a lot of owners first ask, can Maine Coons be house cats? This breed's rural origins and massive size are often a cause for concern...